In the Wake of Tragedy, Policymakers Should Exercise Restraint

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An article in Politico reports that some policymakers are already using the tragedy in Boston to criticize the sequestration spending cuts that went into effect in March. With the nation’s nerves frayed, policymakers should choose their words more carefully. 

At a press conference held yesterday morning, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters that he doubted that sequestration had “any impact presently.” He should have left it at that. Instead, he strayed far from the issue of national security and sequestration by lumping in other issues that didn’t have anything to do with the bombing: 

“I think there are multiple reasons for ensuring that we invest in our security – both domestic and international security. That we invest in the education of our children. That we invest in growing jobs in America. And don’t pursue an irrational, across-the-board policy of cutting the highest priorities and the lowest priorities essentially the same percentage…. I think this is another proof of that – if proof is needed, which I don’t think frankly it is.”

There’s a time and a place to discuss education spending and “growing jobs in America.” At a press conference less than 24 hours after a tragedy is not the right time.